Food Supplements

What are the food supplements in vegetarian food

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Vegetarians are people who follow plant-based diets consisting of fruits and vegetables. While some of the vegetarians are comfortable with the inclusion of dairy products in the diet, some of the more strict vegetarians keep off eggs, milk, and other milk-derived products. Vegetarianism is adopted due to different reasons including religious, cultural, and health influences and motivation. Sometimes it is just economics. Meat is costlier and is meant for special occasions. It can also be a personal preference. A lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes dairy products and eggs and shuns the meat, fish, and poultry, whereas a lacto vegetarian has only the dairy products minus the eggs. An ovo vegetarian, on the other hand, has only the eggs minus the dairy products.

If vegetarians are having a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it is definitely very healthy. However, it is always important to be aware of the other vital nutrients that our bodies need on a regular basis. Any diet, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, does not supply all that we need on a regular basis. This nutritional gap needs to be bridged with food supplements of the best kind.

We need to consume macro- and micronutrients on a daily basis. The macro nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are easier to come by. Vegetarian diets are a little low on protein. An individual ideally needs 1 gm per body weight of protein per day. Two-thirds of this should be got from the food consumed and the remaining one-third can be supplemented. Protein rich foods include the legumes and beans, the cereals, milk, soy and its derivatives, nuts and seeds, etc. Natural soy based protein food supplements are also available. With reference to carbohydrates, vegetarians generally consume more than what is required by their bodies. The result is obesity. More consumption of complex carbohydrates, the variety found in vegetables and fruits are recommended. The simple carbohydrates are found in rice, wheat, flour, etc., and should be consumed in limited quantities only. Fats can be good or bad fats. The vegetable oils that the vegetarians consume contain more of omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, etc. These two need to be consumed in a particular ratio that is healthy for the human body. Hence omega-3 supplements are essential for vegetarians whose diet is low in these fats.

Vegetarians can also lack in the micronutrients that include the vitamins and minerals. Poorly planned vegetarian diets may lack in vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, etc. Such deficiencies in the long run degrade the immune system and lead on to many of the degenerative diseases that we know so well today. Multivitamin and mineral food supplements, therefore, assume a very large role in the everyday diet of the vegetarians.

When choosing food supplements, those derived from natural sources are better as they are more bio-available than the synthetic variety. Regardless of the type of food that vegetarians eat regularly, it is strongly recommended that they consume a wide variety with adequate supplementation to maintain a healthy nutritional balance.